As you may have noticed, lately we’ve been promoting several engagement opportunities in patient-oriented research across the province, a direct result of our partnership with the BC SUPPORT Unit. Read on to learn more about these opportunities and the changes you’ve started seeing on our website!
What is patient-oriented research and why does it matter to PVN?
Traditionally, patients have been the subjects of health research. Patient-oriented research, however, is done differently, engaging patients as partners on the research team, determining which questions need to be researched, and measuring outcomes that matter to them. It involves projects done by teams that include researchers, patients, health care providers and health system decision-makers, and each team member brings an important, complementary perspective.
An important benefit of patient-oriented research is that it helps make health research more responsive to the priorities of both the patient and the health care system. For example, if patients are involved in a study evaluating the effectiveness of a treatment or health service, the evaluation questions will explore things that are important to the patients in reaching their health goals. In some cases, these questions might not have been identified as important by the clinicians or researchers.
Patients are experts on their own conditions and have unique perspectives. Involving them in priority-setting and decision-making related to research allows researchers and clinicians to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the patient experience and to identify and explore gaps in evidence.
The BC SUPPORT Unit and PVN
The BC SUPPORT (Support for People and Patient-Oriented Research and Trials) Unit is an organization created to support, streamline and increase patient-oriented research throughout British Columbia. It’s one of 10 SUPPORT Units established across the country as part of Canada’s Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR), led by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
The changes on the Engagement Opportunities page
We’ve been working for over a year with the BC SUPPORT Unit to increase the involvement of patient partners in patient-oriented research. In the past few days, you’ll have started seeing this symbol beside some of the opportunities on the Engagement Opportunities page:
This is the symbol we’ve created to highlight engagement opportunities in patient-oriented research with the BC SUPPORT Unit. By clicking on the symbol, you’ll be redirected to a new page where you can see all the currently open patient-oriented research opportunities.
One of the reasons why we wanted to make patient-oriented research opportunities easy to identify is that rather than one of our Engagement Leaders acting as the liaison between the patient and the research partners, these opportunities will be supported through staff from the BC SUPPORT Unit. This support will include things like helping the research partner plan and prepare for the engagement opportunity, communicating meeting details, and supporting patient partner orientation to the research project. The PVN team will be available to provide support on an as-needed basis.
Who can participate in patient-oriented research?
Any patient partner can participate in patient-oriented research. You’ll receive the training and orientation you need, both before and throughout the research process. The BC SUPPORT Unit offers training for patient-oriented research teams, and encourages researchers to act as mentors to patient partners throughout the life of their research project. The research team will look to you for the expertise that comes from your lived experience.
You can start learning more about patient engagement in research by watching the BC SUPPORT Unit’s webinar below: Who, me? Yes, you! Becoming a Patient Partner in Health Research. It shows what patient partnership means through the eyes of patients who are already involved in projects:
Find out more about patient-oriented research
If you’d like to learn more about patient-oriented research and the partnership between PVN and the BC SUPPORT Unit, we’ve created a page with frequently asked questions about patient-oriented research. You’re also welcome to contact the BC SUPPORT Unit or the Engagement Leader in your region directly, send the PVN team an email or call the office in Vancouver with your questions.